I have been screaming against the existence of the Sovereign Military Base Areas in Cyprus for years. These are areas in Cyprus that the British have established before granting Cyprus its “independence” and they are completely sovereign (sui generis), they are even exempted from EU soil. These bases are used for various activities, and in principle can be used for virtually a n y t h i n g: two months ago we were reading in the English press how US and British warplanes were crowding on these bases, ready for a strike on Syria (which was eventually averted). We were also reading how the GCHQ listening post on Mount Troodos in Cyprus is arguably the most valued asset which the UK contributes to UK/US intelligence cooperation, intercepting communications in the whole region of the Middle East.
TODAY, following relevant leaks from Edward Snowden, we read in the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, in the Greek newspaper Τα Νέα and in the Italian magazine L’Espresso that the British Bases in Cyprus are being used by the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), in conjunction with the American NSA, in order to spy on communications in the whole area: personal emails, phone calls, and all sorts of private communication.
The status quo of the Sovereign Military Base Areas in Cyprus is unacceptable and scandalous. The Republic of Cyprus must raise this issue with Britain and the international community (including the UN). Cyprus must not simply raise the issue of spying activities on private communications, but the very foundations of these bases that enable these activities. Does the Cypriot government have the guts to do it? Not without the help of others: people from Britain, people from Germany, from the rest of Europe and the global community.